COUVA South MP Rudranath Indarsingh on Tuesday said Government must immediately revisit its decision that MPs distribute 50 food cards to the families of needy pupils during the covid19 pandemic.
At Monday’s post-Cabinet briefing Social Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said each MP would get 50 cards for pupils on the school-feeding programme, with councillors to later likewise distribute to other beneficiaries of the suspended school-meal programme.
Indarsingh said his staff had been swamped by people seeking a food card, even as the Government has not provided clarity and guidelines on the distribution of these cards.
He made it clear he has received no food cards. The MP asked the Government for a formula to select the 50 recipients from his 40,000-plus constituents.
“There are 15 primary schools, two secondary schools and four ECCE centres in the Couva South Constituency. Fifty food cards will not even be adequate for one of these 21 schools.”
Indarsingh said since his office opened on Tuesday, it had been bombarded with over 221 requests for food cards/food support including for an increasing number of people who had lost their jobs. “Where is the food card support for citizens who have become unemployed as a result of this pandemic?”
Indarsingh feared for the security of his staff who were placed under unnecessary pressure and stress by the Government’s statement.
“The Government’s very vague announcement has resulted in chaos, confusion and mayhem at the offices of MPs whose staff are being accused by the public of hoarding food cards and not distributing them. “It is creating uncertainty and anxiety and is further compromising the personal security of the office staff.”
Saying citizens who visit the Ministry of Social Development are being sent to their MP’s office, he said a rise in unemployment meant many cannot provide for their families.
Indarsingh urged the Government to take charge by providing clear and specific guidelines on the distribution process, and review its decision to give MPs just 50 food cards for parents of needy children.
Hitting the Government’s statement that the Opposition should display a sense of responsibility, he said the PNM should not use this time to cause confusion and instability in society.
“The Opposition has been taking its responsibility very seriously and professionally in calling out the Rowley-led PNM administration’s lack of leadership and incompetence in its handling of the covid19 pandemic and in the management of the country.”